Bad Christmas movies, like Netflix’s new flick a CHRISTMAS PRINCE, are a necessary and important part of the holiday season because they allow people to believe in happy endings. Sound corny? Exactly.

Every Thanksgiving, I get very excited. It is not because of the turkey, time off from work, or the beautiful winter weather. It is because Hallmark, Lifetime, and now Netflix start cranking out the holiday movies. I say “holiday” movies instead of Christmas movies because some films don’t even revolve around Christmas. Instead, they focus on snow or New Year’s Eve. If you’re lucky the movie will revolve around both like Netflix’s A CHRISTMAS PRINCE.

I get excited about these films because while the bad movie pantheon has been fully explored by films and books like THE DISASTER ARTIST or by podcasts like HOW DID THIS GET MADE, people have not given Christmas movies the pleasure of being revered for their corniness. These movies, like a Great B movie, are formulaic, stupid, and riddled with plot holes. However, these films have not been given the pleasure, neigh! (pun intended), the privilege of being analyzed and discussed as such. Instead, they are seemingly so bad that most people don’t give them the time of day. While my co-worker has written a lovely piece sending up these Christmas movies and calling for better storytelling, I am here to say, cable TV and Netflix: keep doing what you are doing. I will utilize Netlifx’s Original Film A CHRISTMAS PRINCE as the perfect example.

Note: I will say in my opinion this film is kind of good… ish. But don’t worry I’ll sprinkle in references to plenty of worse ones as well. No need to worry.

Netflix Joins the Terrible Christmas Movie Game: A CHRISTMAS PRINCE, CHRISTMAS INHERITANCE

A CHRISTMAS PRINCE has a Plot… And it’s… a Plot!

The first and most important step of any really bad Christmas movie is the setup. It must be the perfect combination of dumb and brilliant. Think of it as a plot that is equal to: “That’s so stupid it just might work.”

In A CHRISTMAS PRINCE, aspiring journalist Amber Moore — played by Rose McIver who coincidentally plays Liv Moore on iZOMBIE — is fed up with her copy editing job. Thankfully, just at the moment when Amber is ready to quit, her boss gives her an actual journalist assignment to go to Aldovia and cover the womanizing prince’s coronation on Christmas Eve as is tradition.

When Amber gets to the palace, however, the press conference with the prince has been cancelled. But Amber, devoted to the journalist trade, sneaks into the castle where she gets mistaken for the American governess. Now, Amber is living with the royal family and gets to be extremely close to the prince. Oh, and the prince happens to be the man who took her cab earlier! Crazy, right?

Let’s begin with the casting. Always important to have a lead that is slightly to good for the role. You want an actor who you see in the film and you think, “Oh, they’re in this? Wow.” Rose McIver, the star of iZOMBIE, fits that bill.

Second, when it comes to the plot, this is the perfect movie plot because it makes a lot of sense and no sense at all. For example, all of the aspects of the story make sense for the main character. Her boss forces her to cover a story over Christmas. That is something that happens in the real world. However, she is covering a royal coronation — rare — that is on Christmas — rarer.

Other Crazy Plots

Perhaps you’re thinking, this isn’t that crazy. I’ll give you another example. In SNOWGLOBE starring Christina Milan — I’m telling you the lead actor is sometimes the best part — Christina Milan is an executive, not vague at all, who needs a little Christmas joy in her life. Normal, right? Then one day, she discovers a snow globe that transports her to a perfect Christmas wonderland, and she decides to never go home. Now, if you don’t think the second part is crazy, then I can’t help you. Also, for the record, that’s not even the craziest premise, that’s just my favorite one.

Other examples: 12 DATES OF CHRISTMAS (GROUNDHOG DAY with Christmas) and CHRISTMAS BOUNTY (a Christmas movie about a Bounty Hunting family from Long Island)

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Love Story with a Mildly Attractive Person & Fun Side Characters

Is he attractive? I couldn’t tell you. Courtesy of Netflix.

Once Amber starts working at the palace, it’s about five minutes before the young girl she is tutoring figures out that she is a journalist. She allows Amber to stay and finish her story as long as she is truthful about her brother, the prince. While trying to get the story on the prince’s coronation, Amber comes to find and love that the prince is many things. He is a loving brother who also loves to help people.

More happens in this segment of the film then described. However, I am happy to say that if I described every corny scene in this portion of the film, we would be reading this until next year. I’ll try to pick one good scene that will hopefully give you an idea of the type of film this is. There is a scene in which instead of studying all day (boring), Amber takes the young princess out for a sledding adventure. The prince tags along before a snowball fight breaks out that quickly turns romantic. The queen discovers this and is cross before she thanks Amber for bringing joy back to her family.

While this scene is predictable, it is also sweet. First, the Queen is cross because Emily suffers from spina bifida. Therefore, her anger is not just the stereotypical “I don’t like fun.” Instead, it is motivated by a fear that her daughter will get hurt. Second, the romance between the prince and Amber is not treated creepily. The sister is not orchestrating a setup or sabotage. Finally, I am a self-proclaimed movie crier, and this family makes me cry.

While the story might be a little bonkers, a good bad Christmas movie goes for the emotion anyway.

A Finale Full of Twists, Coronations, and Weddings

Now, we get to the best part of the film. At the beginning of the third act, Amber and the prince share a steamy kiss before the traditional Coronation Christmas Ball — Note: if you have enough coronations that it becomes a traditional ball, your country has problems. However, the villains reveal that the prince is adopted, a fact which Amber knew and chose to not reveal. Therefore, the villains get her thrown out as a traitor to the crown.

The prime minister cancels the annual coronation ball. However, before she leaves, Amber realizes that she knows where the exact piece of paper that will fix this issue is! When Amber returns to America, she publishes the truth about Richard on the internet, quits her dead-end job, and celebrates New Year’s Eve with her dad. However, the prince shows up at midnight and asks Amber to marry him. She kisses him… so I think its a yes?

This demonstrates the last two important ingredients for any bad Christmas movie. First, there has to be a crazy twist. Here, Amber not only discovers that the prince is adopted — I don’t know who would see that coming — but also that the late King wrote a decree stating that the adopted prince is the rightful heir. Honestly, I don’t understand royal bloodlines, but I doubt a document like that would be taken at face value.

Second, there is a crazy proposal. I mean this is so odd since they shared one kiss and knew each other for about a week. In addition, he is the new king, and he just flew halfway across the world. In addition, is she going to move to Aldovia and be a queen? What are the consequences of this proposal?

The Verdict on A CHRISTMAS PRINCE and Bad Christmas Movies

Honestly, all of these questions and confusions are the point. A CHRISTMAS PRINCE isn’t perfect. It isn’t close. However, it has a big heart, and it wants to deliver a fun story. Call this story ill-conceived. But sometimes it fun for life to make no sense. When you’ve had a really hard long day, it’s nice to watch a broken family come together because of the positive attitude of a journalist just trying to get her story. It’s fun to watch a New Year’s Eve proposal. It’s fun to marry a prince!

You can call A CHRISTMAS PRINCE, a lot of things, but you can’t say that it’s a forgettable Christmas movie. Honestly, Amber’s notes on the Prince alone have been keeping me up for days.

christmas prince
I need to know what’s going on in your head Amber.

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